Swedish furniture manufacturer IKEA has a reputation for its enormous stores and flat pack furniture. Despite the company's feat of cramming full size beds, armchairs, and filing cabinets into a little box, it clearly still feels as if it isn't doing enough to save space for you.
To them, the answer to solving this problem is to pretend like they're on Mars.
(Az Univerzum meghódítása by lwpkommunikacio via VisualHunt.com, used per provisions of CC Attribution License 2.0.)
IKEA announced the initiative recently at its Democratic Design Day event. Partnering with the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, the company says that, by subjecting its engineers to conditions similar to what astronauts would experience, they can create better furniture for you.
Sounds a little wacky, right? In a press release, IKEA said it's about these questions: "What does comfort mean for compact living? How do we feel in small spaces?" Since the Mars Desert Research Station simulates spacecraft living, IKEA designers will be able to experience the cramped spaces and inconvenient living arrangements astronauts face while in space. Michael Nikolic, Creative Lead at IKEA, explains, “It’s a crazy, fun experience. We’re basically completely isolated for three days to get a taste of what astronauts go through for three years." This, they hope, will give them an idea of how to make more comfortable furniture for, say, a small New York apartment. Their current plan is to release a furniture line inspired by this endeavor by 2019.
Of course, IKEA is not the only company using outer space to better the Earth. I wrote a blog post a couple months back about companies already working on 3-D printing organs in space. Popular Science also reports that farmers are working on growing food in space, which could help us learn more about, for example, how to farm during periods of little rainfall.
Whatever the challenges may be, space seems to provide a promising medium for research that will help humanity meet the problems of the future.
I'm a sci-fi/fantasy lover & writer who especially likes talking about Star Wars and futuristic tech. I like finding new things & finding the beauty in old things, especially in my "Everyday Snippets" series. I hope you'll join me on my blog and unleash your imagination!